On Wednesday, 10 March 2021, Elvira Kovacs, National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of the European Integration Committee, took part in the Thematic Social Dialogue on the Draft Law on Same-Sex Unions, organised by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue.
The Thematic Social Dialogue was also attended by Gordana Comic, Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, Francoise Jacob, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Maja Popovic, Minister of Justice, Brankica Jankovic, Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and Marjana D. Majstorovic of the LGBTI Rights Centre Geten, member of the special Working Group for the drafting of the Law on Same-Sex Unions.
The proposal of the Draft Law on Same-Sex Communities was presented by Dr Zorica Mrsevic of the expert Working Group tasked with the drafting of said Law. The situation in the field of equality of LGBTI people in relation to the recommendations of international human rights mechanisms was presented by Vuk Raicevic, coordinator of the LGBTI rights cluster of the Platform of Organisations for Cooperation with United Nations Mechanisms and legal advisor of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights.
In her address, Kovacs stated that by drafting the law on same-sex partnership, that is the adoption of the law in the National Assembly will regulate the property law, hereditary, social relations of two persons of the same sex in an emotional relationship.
This ensures that same-sex communities are provided with all the rights guaranteed to heterosexual couples and families by the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Serbia. By filling this legal gap, same-sex unions will become equal citizens of our state.
It is a fact that there is a group of citizens in Serbia who cannot exercise their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Kovacs emphasised.
Adoption of this law is also an obligation of the Republic of Serbia, as a member of the Council of Europe, because according to the 2005 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case "Oliari and Others v. Italy" each member of the Council of Europe must legally regulate same-sex unions.
As EU membership is one of Republic of Serbia’s most important priorities, it is important to stress that this issue is regulated by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which prohibits "any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership to a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation".
This issue is also partially regulated by Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of all Union citizens and their families to move and reside freely in the territory of a Member State amending Regulation (EEC), as well as the 2018 legal opinion and judgment of the European Court of Justice.
Given that this issue is already regulated in most EU member states, as well as in some of the countries in the region, I hope that, in the public debate that will allow different opinions to be heard, the best examples of comparative solutions on the issue will be considered. The wide social dialogue of all stakeholders will contribute to the improvement of the future law and harmonisation with the needs of same-sex partnerships in Serbia, Kovacs concluded.